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Volume 6 No. 212


Tokyo 2020 announced U.K. architect Zaha Hadid from Zaha Hadid Architects was selected as the winner of the design contest to update and remodel Tokyo's Kasumigaoka National Stadium. If Tokyo is selected as host of the 2020 Olympic Games, the new Kasumigaoka National Stadium would host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, athletics, football and rugby events. The contest was overseen by architect and Tokyo 2020 council member Tadao Ando. Renovations to the Kasumigaoka National Stadium are scheduled to be completed in March '19 before the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Tokyo. The Japan Sports Council has set the construction budget at 130B yen ($1.6B) (Tokyo 2020). The AFP wrote the renovated stadium will have the same seating capacity (80,000) as Beijing’s Bird’s Nest stadium, and an all-weather roof. Additionally, architects were told that the new structure "would have to be environmentally efficient and match the surrounding landscape" (AFP, 11/15).

BREAKING THE BANK: In London, Dave Phillips wrote the choice of Hadid, who is known in the U.K. for designing the London 2012 Aquatics Centre, "may prove to be a controversial one." However, her firm's deal with the Aquatics Centre was "subject to significant budget overruns." The Aquatics Centre was anticipated to cost £72M ($114M), but the final figure spiralled to £270M ($428M), a figure which "may have been even higher had earlier designs for the venue's temporary wings been followed." Despite Japan's "staggering national debt," the stadium is set to become the world's most-expensive venue at current exchange rates. It will surpass the $1.6B paid in the U.S. for MetLife Stadium, home of the NFL's N.Y. Giants and N.Y. Jets. Kasumigaoka National Stadium will not become the home of any of Japan's major professional sports teams, instead playing host to events which could possibly include a FIFA World Cup, Int'l Association of Athletics Federations World Championships and concerts by performers who can fill what will become an 80,000 capacity arena (GUARDIAN, 11/15).

HISTORIC SITE: In N.Y., Yoree Koh wrote Kasumigaoka National Stadium is a structure that will "take on considerable symbolic importance for Japan." It will be built on the site of the stadium that "played a key part" in the hosting of the Olympics in Tokyo in '64, a landmark of the country’s post-World War II recovery that is "due to be knocked down to make way for the new stadium" in '15 (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/15).

Click here to see all 11 designs submitted for Japan's National Stadium.

The IOC urged that elections for the presidency of the Indian Olympic Association later this month must be "fair and transparent to allow the world's second-most populous nation to tap its sports potential," according to Karolos Grohmann of REUTERS. The run-up to the IOA vote has been "mired in controversy with beleaguered President Suresh Kalmadi bowing to pressure in October and not seeking re-election." IOC VP Thomas Bach was asked about what the IOC expected from the Nov. 25 vote in New Delhi and said, "Top priority for the IOC is integrity." The frontrunners for the IOA presidency are Indian Amateur Boxing Federation President Abhay Chautala and IOA Secretary General Randhir Singh (REUTERS, 11/15).

The Qatar Olympic Committee revealed the Qatar Sports Venue Master Plan, wrapping up the ASPIRE4SPORT 2012 Congress and Expo, according to the GULF TIMES. Over the past two years, "the plan audited 62 existing sports venues for usability and proposed 11 new ones, in addition to eight venues originally planned" by the country's Olympic committee. QOC Secretary General Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said, "Our focus since the beginning of this project has been legacy and ensuring that we avoid white elephants. We have watched countries build large venues and struggle later with what to do with them; and our team has worked backward, thinking first about how these venues can be of use in the future before planning their use during major sporting events." The new venues will be distributed over five zones around Lusail City, Qatar Foundation, Aspire Zone, Old Airport Area and Qatar University (GULF TIMES, 11/15). Reuters' Brian Homewood noted Qatar will keep bidding for the Summer Olympics, "despite having failed to make the cut in the race to host the 2016 and 2020 Games." Sheikh Saoud said, "Every time we bid, we are listening and learning to see how we can make our bid stronger." Qatar has a population of "only 1.7 million people but is aiming to become a sports hub for the Middle East and North Africa region." Sheikh Saoud added, "We think our next bid will be even stronger because of what we have learnt from 2020, and we think that each time we bid, we can get closer" (REUTERS, 11/15).

Meanwhile at ASPIRE4SPORT, Sheikh Saoud and French Olympic Committee Secretary General Jean-Pierre Mougin signed "a memorandum of understanding." The agreement will see the two "work together toward excellence in sports, whether Olympic or non-Olympic, through the exchange of knowledge through resources, managers, coaches and sports medicine experts" (GULF TIMES, 11/13).

Seven of Singapore's athletes who competed at the 2012 London Olympics "enjoyed a windfall from corporate sponsors." Canoeing's Geraldine Lee, gymnastics' Lim Heem Wei, swimming's Joseph Schooling, shooting's Jasmine Ser, swimming's Tao Li, badminton's Derek Wong and athletics' Gary Yeo "received a total of $144,000 in grants from Canon, Samsung and SingTel" (STRAITS TIMES, 11/15). ... The London Olympic and Paralympic Games attracted 680,000 overseas visitors in the three months ending in September. The Office for National Statistics said, "There were 90,000 Games-related visits in September, which is in addition to the ONS' announcement in October that 590,000 overseas residents completed visits to Britain in July and August in relation to London 2012 Games" (XINHUA, 11/15).